Optimism or Why My Mother Rocks

I don’t have many rules in my life. I don’t believe in any god or religion either. Pretty much the only gospel I follow is: ‘There’s nothing a little bit of shopping can’t fix’. (Sometimes shopping gets replaced with food, but let’s stay simple here.)

So today, when my mom asked if I wanted to do something with her, my first thought was ‘PRIMARK!’ like a crack whore whose last fix happened way too long ago. Which comes close to the truth, in case you’re wondering.

The thing with Primark is, it’s the bag of crisps among the shops. ‘I swear, I’m only gonna have a handful, I’m not even hungry.’ Uh huh. And out you come with ten heavy bags and a credit card screaming in agony. I did hold back today, though. Or actually, I didn’t feel like I did but I ended up paying way less than I thought and I still came away with a bunch of things I definitely hadn’t planned buying. Seriously, though, I know the puppy cushion was only 5€. I know it isn’t the worst kind of retail mania I’ve ever indulged in. But this newfound obsession with cushions for my couch really need to stop. In case you’re wondering: I have a 2-seater Ektorp couch from Ikea and that already has as little space as a couch will have. And I keep adding cushions because they’re all so adorable and pretty and uuuuggghh, I need them all.

But anyway, what I was actually gonna do was write a long appreciative post about the wonderful person that is my mother.

See that Hufflepuff shirt in the picture? See, I almost didn’t buy it. The thing with Primark and me is it has little love for my plus size body. With most of their shirts, their cardigans, their hoodies, well, most items that are meant to dress the upper half of your body, I will just about fit into their 20, sometimes more comfortably than other times. This often causes my heart to break silently when I browse their nerdy racks with all the Potter, Game of Thrones, Disney and other items. This time wasn’t much different and as usual, everything I didn’t want was available in all sizes, all the many available 20’s mocking me while I stared longingly at all the things I couldn’t have. When I saw these shirts, however, my inner Hufflepuff did a happy dance, followed by a sad dance when there were no 20’s left.

I dug out an 18 and looked at it, holding it up to my body and frowning dubiously, my usual ‘I know this is very irresponsible spending if I don’t at least try this on but the changing rooms are so annoying here’-dance, asking my mom if she thought I should just go for it or regret not buying it forever. When she goes, digs out a 12 and says ‘Or you could just buy this one for when you’ve lost all that weight!”

Awww, I know, right? That’s so lovely of her. Even though I know 12 is so ridiculous, it’s almost rude again, just the thought that she really, truly believes I’ll manage to lose all that weight eventually makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. My mom is one of the most brutally honest and judgemental people I know. If she thinks you’re full of shit or what you’re going will crash and burn, she’ll have you know, and she won’t stop before you’re curled up on the floor, crying uncontrollably. But when she says something motivational like that, you know she really believes it. You know she isn’t just supporting you because it’s kinda her job but she absolutely, 100% has your back.

So yes, hormonal or not, I was not looking forward to the first moment I got all teary-eyed in a Primark but it really couldn’t be helped today.

I did end up being an 18, by the way. My mom may believe in the impossible, but I’m just not there, yet.

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Categories: Me Myself and I, Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Caturday VI

This young lady has a new obsession

A couple years ago, my neighbor got a new tomcat. All the other cats in this house are female and the poor chap got his fair share of abuse from them. It’s safe to say he’s not a ladies man because instead of making them all swoon, every single cat he comes across turns into a rabid psycho bitch.

Until recently, my ladies were quite unaffected by that. They’re the only ones who live in an upstairs flat and he never found his way up here. Until about four months ago when he figured out that with a little bit of willpower, he could jump his way up to my balcony.

It started one fine weekend morning when I thought the end of the world had come because I was woken up by a diabolical noise from the kitchen. Upon further inspection, it was Äffchen screaming at what I thought were birds. But no, it was this poor little guy. At first, I think he got the shock of his life and disappeared quite quickly. But curiosity got the best of him and he was back a few days later. After a few visits he figured out that yes, Äffchen does have a few anger management problems, but he was perfectly fine behind the glass.

He’d come back more and more frequently. He tried hissing and bitching back but soon settled for staring at her stoically while she freaked out on the other side of the glass.

I thought that her behaving like this was a matter of defending her territory. I may think I’m in control and reigning over this place, especially because I hold the power over the balcony door and thus decide when she can even go out there but nope, obviously she’s the queen of this place and a stranger like him can’t just walk in on us like that. While that may be true, by now I believe there’s some secret little obsession building inside that tiny (though slightly chubby by now) body of my little feline. And it may be mutual. Jacomo (that’s her love interest’s name) comes over twice a day by now, whenever he gets the chance. And for the rest of the time, Äffchen sits by the balcony door and fixes his usual spot outside with a longing gaze. She spends hours sitting there, sort of on and off until it gets dark. Then she knows he won’t come because he gets called inside for dinner and a night in. When usually my cat would settle next to me for a “Welcome Home”-session of Murder, She Wrote reruns after work, she can now be found in the kitchen every afternoon. I feel cheated on!

I fear the time summer comes along and I’ll let her outside. Given the nature of their relationship thus far, I guess she’ll tear out his throat in a dramatic show of her affection.

Categories: Feline Companions | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Girls Who Are Boys Who Like Boys to Be Girls

Gender is a really big subject right now. Which is a good thing because apparently there are a lot of people who do not fit the traditional male-female theme. It can be very confusing and I don’t know about most people but I know that the main reason it’s confusing for me is because I try to understand it. I’m a girl and I feel like a girl and I’m straight and don’t go beyond bi-curious, so I pretty much fit the dictionary description of a traditional female. And yet, I can’t say I understand how straight relationships work or why I feel how I feel. I think I understand it because I’ve grown up thinking that’s normal and that’s really all it takes to be able to accept something. Which is all people should do when it comes to how others feel about themselves. But when we hear about someone who acts or feels different, we instantly try to understand it, like a math problem that begs to be solved.

I think what would really help matters is if people of all kinds of genders, sexualities and preferences found a place in literature and the media. If people are introduced to the idea of this at a very young age, they won’t even get a chance to question what’s right or wrong here but they’ll just accept that people are who they are.

One author who is absolutely amazing at including different lifestyles and preferences in his books is David Levithan. With titles such as Two Boys Kissing or Boy Meets Boy, you’ll guess that a his fiction focuses on homosexual boys. And that isn’t so wrong. Most of the main characters of his books are male, usually gay. But they’re never the heroes because they’re gay. Their homosexuality is never really the focus of things. Sure, sometimes it ends up being in the center but it happens in a way that seems perfectly natural. In a world where homosexuality is still often pointed out and judged, of course there are gonna be situations in which those boys will have to deal with that. But they’re not defined by it and there’s never any magical coming out situations.

Quite often, characters will also be less easy to grasp. There’s rarely any black or white when it comes to gender or sexuality and neither does that happen in Levithan’s books.

My favorite book of his is Every Day. Why? Because the main character, A, has no gender at all. And it also puts the reader in its spot quite nicely. You read the first few pages and you automatically assume that A must be a boy. Actually, A is just a being, a soul if you will, that wakes up in a different body every day. When we get to know them, they’re in a male body. Over the course of the book, A falls in love with a girl. That was enough for me to assume that A must be a male character. And it wasn’t until the book actually pointed out that A is neither male nor female that I noticed my mistake. Why does falling in love with a girl or having a male body automatically make someone male? To be honest, I don’t know if these kind of wake up calls are intended by Levithan but I’ve had moments like that a lot while reading his books and I can absolutely recommend them to anyone, especially parents looking for new books for their teenage kids. Apart from teaching gender lessons, Levithan’s stories are also really gripping and beautifully told.

He’s probably best known as the co-author of John Green for Will Grayson, Will Grayson and while that is one of my favorite books, Levithan’s solo work is just as good but rarely gets the recognition it deserves.

Categories: Bookworm | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wake Up Call

I’m still sick as a dog and napping has become my favorite thing to do over the past few days. I like to stay up late and sleep in and that’s what I did yesterday. At around ten A.M., after about five hours of sleep, a buzzing sound woke me up. I vaguely remember checking the display of my phone and seeing an unknown number. I never answer those but something about this number struck me as important, so I picked up. And found myself speaking right to a very calm and kind female voice introducing herself as a doctor from the clinic where I applied for the Endobarrier.

Two things were clear to me right that instant: 1) I was nowhere near ready for that call and 2) I had my mother to thank for this. She’s been to see our doctor a few times lately and really stirred things up. I don’t remember giving her the permission to inquire about the progress whenever she went there, and neither do I remember giving the permission to be so open about it to my doctor. A part of me is really angry that they’ll just discuss me like that. But eh, it’s my mother, she knows what’s up and she’s usually the first person I call with news anyway, so I suppose getting mad about it is a waste of energy.

Anyway, the doctor said she feels I definitely qualify and that she and her team would like to meet me for an interview. Still sleepy and numb, I made an appointment for the 26th. And now I’m so nervous, you’d think I’m going in to meet my future husband!

I know there’s absolutely no reason in the world why I would not seize this opportunity. It’s completely free and there are no likely side effects. If it helps, it really helps a lot in many different ways. If it doesn’t help, that sucks but no worries, the thing will be out within a few days and leave nothing behind but a disappointing experience.

And yet, I’m suddenly a bit doubtful. Maybe it’s just the uneasy feeling I always have when going to an interview about absolutely everything. I know a look at me and my diabetes diary is enough and they’ll see I meet the requirements but I still feel like I need to prove something. But I also keep thinking that since I started organising my food intake according to the 5:2 system, the weight seems to come off by itself. It’s a stupid thought and will get me nowhere because I know the loss will slow down or even stop eventually. Plus, if I do the Endobarrier thing, it will come along with a nutrition tutor that will coach me and help me to stick to goals which I know I will have issues with on my own. But I don’t know, at this moment in time it feels like just taking the easy route when I could do it on my own. Which is really, really stupid thinking. I’ve seen this sort of ‘achievement shaming’ on MFP and other places, where people who’ve managed to lose weight with discipline alone often act as if that was somehow ‘better’. I get that it would probably fill you with more pride but what matters to me is the result and I guess if someone finally invents that magic pill that slims you down to your ideal weight, there’s not a single overweight person in the world who’ll refuse, so can we stop the holier-than-thou game?

Oh, I just don’t know! I guess I’ll just try not to freak out and go to that interview on the 26th and then take it from there. What I already know is that I do not want to do this before Mallorca. I’d have a major freak out if the thing was just in or I had just started eating normal food again and then I’m a two hour flight away from any doctor who could help if there’s an issue…

Categories: Weight Loss | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Getting There

I didn’t think I’d get to post this so soon, more like mid-February or the beginning of March. But this morning, I stepped on the scale and woohoo, I broke the 130! In total, I’ve lost 7.9kg since December.

I’m wondering when this will slow down because I already expected it to do so after the first two weeks but apparently, the loss is still going well. I’m excited but still trying not to expect too much with every check-in.

Admittedly this week was made a lot easier by me being off sick. I was feeling way too bad to even crave food and even when I wasn’t supposed to fast, I rarely reached my limit. I’m pretty miserable but let’s focus on the good news. Yay, weight loss!

Categories: Weight Loss | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Oh, You Shouldn’t Have

I feel like I should start this post with a massive apology because it’s been overdue. I feel like the person who gets a birthday gift and never bothers to unwrap it.

Over a week ago, the ever so lovely Lauren vom Boo-Laurène graced me with the Versatile Blogger Award which is really lovely considering that my little blog is so tiny and humble. But versatile it is and before I get carried away with my usual reaction to compliments (which is usually to mumble something incoherent and blush fiercely), I’m just gonna say THANK YOU!

The thing with me and blog awards is that I never quite know who to nominate next because I’ve come across so many blogs that don’t like awards or I don’t know them well enough to tell if awards are welcome or not, so I feel like I’m just breaking the rules all the time. With this particular one I also feel like I don’t know many blogs that are actually versatile as most of the ones I follow and read regularly have a specific theme or subject going on. And I’m not comfortable dishing out awards just because I like people so much, even though I know this isn’t a super serious thing. But still. So please excuse me if I take the easy route by only strictly nominating one blog: 221bNeverland is my friend Mel’s blog. I know I’ve mentioned her a million times already but really, her blog is awesome, it couldn’t be more versatile, she is awesome and I know that if she doesn’t like to get awards, she’ll just tell me so or come to my door and hit me over the head with it. (I’m kidding. I’m usually the coming to her door-person).

But hold your bloody horses, I’m not done yet! Since I don’t want to name anyone in particular, let me just say that every single blog on my blogroll deserves an award and everyone who reads this should head over there and check out all the many links of goodness on there. And if you find your link there and you want to grab this award and put it on your blog, please do so!

The Rules for this are:

  • Show the award on your blog
  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Share seven facts about yourself
  • Nominate fifteen blogs
  • Link the nominee’s blogs and let them know

And here are the seven facts about moi:

  • I used to have a Bambi audio cassette on which Thumper recites his dad’s poem about eating only the healthy green parts of flowers and to this day, I know this poem by heart.
  • My first crush was Fireball from Saber Rider and the Starsheriffs. I spent years crying over the face that he wasn’t real (and I wasn’t a cartoon character).
  • I cannot get naked or do something I wouldn’t do in front of most people when I’m in a room with many pictures or posters of people in the room. This got so far that when I had my walls covered with Take That posters as a teenager, I wouldn’t change in my own room or have to cover their eyes with a sheet of paper. All of them. And there were many.
  • I have whole singalong marathons by myself in the car but never anywhere else and never in front of others.
  • My first kiss was with a man twice my age back then. Nowadays, I find that creepy, back then I thought I was it.
  • When I’m full after eating something salty or spicy, I can still eat something sweet. When I’m full after eating something sweet, I can still eat something salty or spicy. Technically, I could spend a week eating like a pig if I alternate.
  • I only found out that Florida and California aren’t on the same coast a couple years ago. My mind was blown.
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Another Piece of My Heart Lost

If you’re a perceptive person and glanced at the little Instagram feed waaaaay down on the bottom of my blog, you may have noticed that the past few days saw me feeding my IG account with a bunch of sightseeing pictures from London. Only just over a month since my last visit to this beautiful, beautiful city, I went back, this time to conquer the place with Mel.

Uhm...anyone alive?

Uhm…anyone alive?

After catching an insane 7 AM flight from Weeze to Stansted, we found an almost empty arrivals area and a slightly busier shopping area where we had to kill some time and enjoy a quick breakfast of sandwiches before catching out airport shuttle into the city. At this point I was already pretty convinced that I must have the face of a terrorist or a drug smuggler because at every passport control, it took a lot of glancing back and forth between my passport, their screen and my face and I was already preparing myself for a chat with a grumpy official. In the end, though, they always waved me through anyway. “No, officer, I’m not on any drugs, I’m just running on three hours of sleep!”

The airport shuttle was…a surprise. We’d watched all the huge modern coaches from National Express and Terravision come and go and I was already looking forward to an hour of napping in a comfortable seat when our Easybus shuttle arrived. I have no idea where they took the name Easybus from because the thing was pretty much an empty coke can on wheels, driven by a grumpy guy who seemed to trust that everyone would enjoy a little fearing for their life first thing after arriving in London. With hindsight, it was hilarious.

Heh.

Heh.

The shuttle dropped us off at Old Street from where we could catch the Northern Line straight down to our hotel in Clapham. Clapham is an area I had never been to before but I found it quite agreeable. There’s nothing exciting to do or see there and it’s really just one of the many cute little parts of London that are mostly residential but have a High Street to serve people’s everyday needs. But it was cute, with a large green common area and rather well kept town houses, so our hotel’s location could have been way worse. The first day, we had to walk quite a distance because the hotel’s information had said that it was right between two tube stations and it didn’t matter which one we got off on. The next day we found out that ‘right between’ means one is a 10 minute walk away, the other just around the corner. But at least we got to see a little of Clapham that way (and found that it had a café with a clever Game of Thrones reference.  Heh.). And being able to catch the Northern Line also is a good thing because it’s so easy to get somewhere with it. The hotel also seemed quite okay when we arrived, even though they wanted £4 just for storing our luggage. But it was either that or drag the suitcases around all day.

Come on, it's mandatory!

Come on, it’s mandatory!

After dropping our luggage off, we were faced with the decision of what to do first and guess what? We ended up at Starbucks! But not without saying hello to Piccadilly Circus. What is it about that place? You always hear about people running into celebrities there and even ‘mortal’ locals often happen to go to that place. I can’t imagine Parisians just randomly visiting the Eiffel Tower or New Yorkers to hang out by Lady Liberty’s feet but Londoners really seem to like Piccadilly Circus. Not like I could blame them, of course. It really is a magical place, even though I miss all the really cool stores they used to have there. (Read: I miss being able to buy records just anywhere in London without relying on HMV on Oxford Street!)

Please notice the gorgeous blue sky!

Please notice the gorgeous blue sky!

Starbucks served us well, even though it’s safe to say we both felt tired and exhausted from the early flight all day. Since Mel had made plans with a friend to catch up, we told her we’d meet her at the British Museum, so we were headed there next. The thing with museums is that I have mixed feelings about them. Art is a wonky subject because I can’t get into everything but then there are pieces that capture me so much I can sit and stare at them for ages. With historical stuff, I can never get excited about huge displays of many tiny bits and pieces but I love large pieces and statue that make me imagine what they looked like originally, where they used to be before and what it must have been like there. So the British Museum is perfect for me. Their Egyptian, Roman and Greek exhibitions have so many remarkable things to offer and I feel like they’re doing such a great job at creating just the right atmosphere for every piece. For example in many of

Word!

Word!

the Egyptian rooms, the lights are dimmed a little, the walls are a little darker and they often created an atmosphere that made you feel like you were walking straight into a tomb. And the Roman and Greek parts were often really light and airy. I just love visiting this museum, even though its architecture is a little more modern and not quite as stunning as the Natural History museum. Mel’s friend joined us halfway into our visit and we explored the Asian exhibition and a few other parts together before finishing our visit in the library (cue me fangirling!). Sadly, the doors to the large reading room were closed but nonetheless, the library is stunning! What I wouldn’t give to spend a day there reading. The only thing I don’t like is that there aren’t any books on the shelves anymore. I get that it would just be too much work to take care of it all and people can’t go up on the galleries anyway, so it isn’t like anyone ever gets to appreciate what’s on the shelves anyway but I don’t know. An empty library feels a little like a dead body.

I don’t even remember if we had any more plans for that day but we ended up having what was supposed to be a quick dinner but got extended to a long dinner and drinks and chat session. Which was just as well, as far as I’m concerned. By that time my feet hurt and I was ready to curl up under the table and go to sleep. We talked about music a lot (well, for the most part I listened because, despite not being interested in some of the bands they talked about, I just love listening to people talk about their favorite music because it gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside to know people still appreciate it) and when we made it back to Oxford Street for some shopping at HMV, I bought two albums on impulse. The Third Three Years by Frank Turner which has live recordings from one of his shows in Wembley (because nothing ever beats Frank Turner live shows!) and Get Hurt by The Gaslight Anthem. Admittedly, no new discoveries but I finally caught up with some of my favorites.

After saying goodbye to our company, we made it back to our hotel for a somewhat early night in. For me it is always strange sharing a room with people for the first time. No matter how well you know someone, your evening and morning rituals are always something they haven’t seen yet. But I believe Mel and I made the best of the tiny space we had in our room. And tiny it was. But somewhat clean and the bed was alright-ish, so it was okay.

London has a beautiful love affair with modern ceilings like this.

The next day started with the usual question: What do we do first? We decided to go to King’s Cross first to feed our little Potterhead needs. Upon arriving at Platform 9 3/4, we were a little disheartened to find they made people queue up and pose in front of a professional photographer and everyone else. The good thing is you don’t have to get a professional photo done but can also just let your friend take a picture. So that’s what we did. Or Mel did, anyway. I still get a little breathless imagining myself posing in front of a bunch of strangers. It’s stupid and I kinda regret not doing it but there’s always next time and now that I know what it’s like, I can begin giving myself pep talks two months in advance. We also visited the Platform 9 3/4 store and splurged a little. I bought a ticket for the Hogwarts Express, writing paper and a card holder which came in handy for my several credit and ID cards, so I didn’t have to carry my huge wallet around all the time. When we left, I figured I should have bought postcards but when I told my mom about the whole experience, she said she wants to see it, too, so I suppose I’ll be back in November anyway. King’s Cross itself was a surprise for me because I thought it wouldn’t be so modern. Other than that, it was just a typical train station, I suppose. It also brought us the scariest moment of the whole trip, though. When we were in the HP store, there was an announcement asking all passengers and visitors to leave the station immediately. Suddenly, there was police around everywhere and no one knew what was up. I have to say, though, Londoners are quite hardcore about these things, especially after the whole Charlie Hebdo panic. Everyone was just randomly standing around, some people just went to get a snack and others even refused to interrupt what they were doing. We walked around the station in search of a Starbucks or some other place where we could wait and then go back in later but by the time we had walked around to the other end, people were already walking into the station again. We followed carefully, halfway expecting to get kicked out again but nope. In general, I’d say my anxiety over the whole terrorism affair is pretty bad right now and I had been a little nervous about going to such a popular place as London, so I didn’t really need this kind of shock, but I’m glad it ended up being nothing.

In front of Sherlock's door with my Harry Potter bag - does that scream NERD or what?

In front of Sherlock’s door with my Harry Potter bag – does that scream NERD or what?

Our next step took is straight to Baker Street to visit the Sherlock Holmes Museum. I don’t know how often Mel apologized for ‘Sherlockizing’ this trip and I don’t know how often I told her it’s okay but it was often. We did a lot of Sherlock-related things and I didn’t mind in the slightest. First of all, it did introduce me to ‘new’ things about London I hadn’t seen and hadn’t done or even known about before. And then – as with the music talk – I just like seeing people get excited about the things they like. And I’m sure she’ll hate me for saying this but Mel is quite adorable when it is about something she’s truly excited about.

We ended our visit with mandatory pictures of ourselves posing in front of Sherlock’s front door. I was surprised to find there was no long queue outside because posing for pictures is completely free and I figured even a lot of passersby would stop to do so.

I’m nowhere near a Sherlockian but even I found some of the things they sold in the shop enticing. We didn’t buy anything, though, safe for the ticket to enter the museum. ‘Museum’ is a strange word here because it felt more like visiting someone’s home. 221b Baker Street doesn’t only look like a random town house from the outside, it also looks and feels that way from the inside, complete with cute wallpapers and creaking floor boards. The first two floors were awesome in the way that they looked like Sherlock was about to return any minute now. The last two were still cozy but they’d set up scenes from the books, using mannequins with often creepy faces and I didn’t like that as much. But the rest of the house I wanted to make my own. Even though my own rooms are so high and airy, I love small and cozy rooms, which a lot of British homes offer, and 221b Baker Street isn’t an exception to that. And the fireplaces! Oh dear!

 

Hay's Galleria - Our not so little shelter from the cold

Hay’s Galleria – Our not so little shelter from the cold

I don’t remember if it was our original plan or whether we made spontaneous adjustments but next we found ourselves at London Bridge from where we had a stunning view towards Tower Bridge. We decided to take a stroll along the Thames down towards Tower Bridge and passed Hay’s Galleria on the way. That’s another thing about London I love so much: You can just start walking somewhere and on the way you’ll pass many gorgeous little things you didn’t even know where there. According to the description, the Galleria used to be a wharf in former times but nowadays it’s something like a huge courtyard in which you’ll find bars, cafe´s and restaurants and also a few stalls selling crafts. We had a coffee at Starbucks and marvelled at the fact that we were sitting outside but somewhat sheltered, so it was unbearably cold.

Be still my heart!

Be still my heart!

Feeling refreshed, we pushed on towards Tower Bridge, but not without stopping to take a bunch of selfies in front of it. We were in good company, though, as a Spanish (?) travel group posed for a bunch of action group photos. Who could blame them (or us), though, since the bridge was simply stunning with the lights on and surrounded by all the other lights along the river. I can also proudly announce that after nearly five years, Mel and I managed to take our first real picture (well, pictures) together. And with Tower Bridge as our background, too. It feels like we’ve been waiting for this perfect opportunity.

Spooky trees in front of the Tower

Spooky trees in front of the Tower

We crossed the bridge, again feeling stunned by how huge and gorgeous and impressive it is up close, and found ourselves in front of the Tower. By then, it was too dark for any proper sightseeing. Or least to take proper pictures, as the seeing certainly wasn’t a problem with all the many lights around, making the whole city seem even more magical than it usually does. But since we’re little tourists at heart, we decided to put an end to the sightseeing for the night and went back to Oxford Street for some shopping.

Once there, our first stop was House of Fraser where I finally bought Mel her Christmas present. I’d given her a voucher for a Naked Basics Palette from Urban Decay since I didn’t just want to buy one and find she didn’t like the colors as much. It turned out to be a good decision because she wasn’t so excited about either of the Basics but lost her heart to the Naked 2 instead. So we bought that. I’m glad to finally welcome her to the world of Naked Addicts. Heh.

Next we went to Waterstones and the usual thing happened: I drag someone to a bookstore intending to BUY ALL THE BOOKS! but then end up not really able to find anything or get excited about anything and making an alibi purchase but my company buying something despite not even planning to do so. I’m also sorry to report that Mel’s purchase of Tinder was infinitely cooler than my simply continuing the I Heart series by buying the next instalment, I Heart Vegas. We ended the night with a visit to the Waterstones café downstairs where I had a delicious White Hot Chocolate and she had the grossest bottle of cola either of us had ever tasted.

The next early morning found us starting to hate our hotel a little bit because the fire alarm went off at four in the morning, and again several times between seven and eight. When Mel asked about it later, they said it was because of the construction workers they had around to refurbish and renovate the hotel but that they’d leave at six that night and it would be fine. Tired and still somewhat disgruntled but soothed by this news, we went out on our next adventure.

This time, our way led us to our next Sherlockian point on our to-do list, the Sherlock Exhibition at the Museum of London. Compared to the Sherlock Museum it was quite the culture shock because the whole museum, including the exhibition, was so very modern. All white, shiny walls, flat screens and audio effects. For me personally, the exhibition was very interesting because it focused largely on London during Sherlock (or Doyle’s) time, showing all pictures from the time, explaining a lot about the infrastructure and means of transport. But I suppose for real fans of the books, author and screenplays, it must be quite disappointing because it touches so many aspects but never really reaches much depth with anything. The museum itself wasn’t all that fantastic, either. The only absolutely cool thing was the Victorian Way, an area where they reconstructed what an old shopping district might have looked like (in a clean indoors kind of way, at least). It wasn’t amazing but I guess in a city that has so many museums, one has to be the lame one.

After leaving the museum, we walked down to St. Paul’s. Up until then we’d been so lucky with the weather, all blue skies and a kind of sunny cold. But that day was grey and dull and even a bit rainy and I’m afraid it pressed down on my mood a little bit. Nevertheless, we walked around the church and took some pictures but refrained from going inside because the entrance fee they’re asking for these days is just rude. And either way, the outside is already stunning enough for me.

I'm gonna love you and squeeze you and call you George!

I’m gonna love you and squeeze you and call you George!

The next step took us to the National History Museum where both of us had a fangirlgasm. Mel because of the architecture and I because of the little guy you see on the left. It was my third time visiting this museum and believe it or not, I had always forgotten to go look for a raccoon! Eek!  He’s a little faded and old and doesn’t look too friendly but I still wanted to take him home. I fear a couple of Asian kids thought I’d lost it because I snapped about a dozen pictures from all angles, and only of this little fella. Well, excuuuuuse me, I’m having a moment here!

Since stuffed animals and hordes of French school kids weren’t exactly to our liking that evening, we made it our of the museum after dragging me away from the critter and then…I flew. Yup, I flew down the entrance stairs, luckily only the last step, twisted my toe and ended right on my knees. I just crouched there and mumbled something like “OMG, oh please, oh no!”, feeling like the biggest tool. Luckily there was hardly anyone around, only a woman and her kid who probably thought that the chubby woman on her knees wasn’t just clumsy but also possessed of some kind of demon. A stronger character than me would have found this hilarious because even while I was falling I thought that, hm, this is kind of a slo-mo action here. Kudos to Mel who either pretended not to notice or left me the dignity of pretending I wasn’t sniffling and hobbling around all teary-eyed while nursing my bruised ego which was the only thing that took away a serious injury. Given my weight and the angle of the fall, I already saw myself in hospital with knee caps resembling crushed crisps. I also felt phantom blood trickling down my leg all the time even though I knew it couldn’t be bleeding because not even my jeans were sticking to my knees. Back in the hotel later, I found the left one a bit swollen and bruised quite colorfully and the right showing almost no sign of the accident. By now, the left is almost black (the first time I get to know why they call it ‘black and blue’!) but walking barely hurts anymore, so I guess I’ll get around seeing a doctor this time.

Despite the fall, I bit my lip and went through the rest on our list. To be honest, since I was with someone so much fitter and more in shape than me, I had already been struggling with keeping up all the time. During most of our trip I felt a bit like Samwell Tarly on his way beyond the Wall. But hey, even he had his pride and so did I! And that’s a good thing because so much good came out of that. First of all we got to do and see a lot more than if I had listened to my body’s complaining and taken a million breaks all day. Then I could just file it under exercise. And finally, apart from losing another piece of my heart to London, I also left over two kilos there. So really, the sore muscles and aching joints were so worth it.

Hello Gorgeous!

Anyway, after my free fall performance, we finally visited Big Ben to say hello. But again, it was too dark for proper pictures, so we walked to Trafalgar Square and down Northumberland Avenue, where Mel had another Sherlockgasm over the Sherlock Holmes pub. We considered going in for a snack but found nothing tasty and vegetarian on the menu and were a little too cheap to go in just for a coke. So we pushed on and had dinner from Subway before retiring to our hotel for a super early night in because we had to get up again at two in the morning. Early flights will be the death of me.

Again, to our horror, the fire alarm went off thirty minutes after we got to our room. And again, we got a different excuse. After Mel gave them a piece of her mind, though, all was quiet and we could sleep for a while, an hour in my case.

The trip back to the airport was straight from a horror movie because we had to catch two night buses but the stop for one of them had been shown in the wrong place on the map and by the time we found the right now, we had missed the last bus. With only twenty minutes left until we had to get to our airport shuttle, we finally decided to take a cab. An excellent decision because the cabby was the nicest old-ish guy I’ve ever met. He was so calm and sweet and helped us find the right place so calmly even though we must have confused the crap out of him. Thanks to his efforts, we made it just in time. Well, we did but our shuttle didn’t. It just wouldn’t come and when the next one on the schedule arrived, I halfway expected them to tell us there was no space for us. But again, we were lucky and had a super nice driver who instantly apologized and knew there’d been a problem with the previous shuttle, so we were finally on our way to the airport where, again, we arrived only just in time for the gate to open. Apparently, luck was on our side! But can I just say: Stansted, WTF? Your departure area is more of a mall than any of our actual malls! A MAC Store? Really? I was so glad London had left me broke and out of time or I would have found death of shopping right there.

So yeah, after a surprisingly short flight (two pages read, a quick nap and ta-da, we’ve arrived!), we landed back in cold and nasty Germany where we were greeted with a round of ice-scratching and by a bunch of insane drivers on the highway. But alas, it was a very, very, very fun trip that had its little hiccups and accidents but for the most part was so good, showed me another side of London and also happened to be my very first trip with a very dear friend.

So this tale of our little adventure has to end but let me finish with our first picture together (well, one of them!) that I rambled about previously…

Categories: Uncategorized, Wanderlust | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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